The Eureka County High girls basketball team has wrapped up its non-conference schedule with a perfect 11-0 record as they head into league play starting in January.
Eureka has had considerable success the past few years when looking at the girls basketball team for ECHS. The girls have had two state runner up finishes to go along with a state title in 2013, their first title in girls basketball at ECHS since 1988. Ken Fujii revived the program but has since left Eureka and is now coaching the girls team in Virginia City. Former assistant Travis Gallager has the head coaching gig now and is off to early success.
Eureka opened their season at the WREC Tournament and played four games in the tournament.
Their first opponent was Tonopah and they handled the Lady Muckers quite easily with a 73-33 victory. Junior Beth Damele led the Lady Vandals with 18 points while fellow Junior Shara Green contributed 14 points of her own. Elko JV was the next opponent for Eureka in the tournament. Another easy game gave Eureka a 45-20 victory as Megan Damele scored 17 points while Shara Green added 13.
Eureka’s third game in the WREC Tournament was definitely their best competition. The Lady Vandals beat larger school Wendover 43-40. The last game matched Round Mountain against Eureka and similar results ensued. Eureka beat the Lady Knights 40-29.
On Dec. 11-13, Eureka traveled to the Comstock Classic in Virginia City to compete in another preseason tournament.
Their first game was probably their toughest test of the young season. Pahranagat Valley, the nemesis of Eureka girls basketball over the past few years was their first opponent of the tournament. Eureka trailed all game to the Lady Panthers until Shara Green sank 1 of her 2 free throws to take the lead. A last second attempt by Pahranagat Valley was unsuccessful and Eureka held on to win 32-31. Shara Green led the Lady Vandals in scoring with 9 points in the low scoring affair.
Beth Damele and Annette Hayward had 8 and 7 points respectively against the Lady Panthers. Eureka and Pahranagat Valley have met in the state championship for girls basketball the last 3 years so familiarity between the two teams played an important role in the low scoring affair.
The Lady Vandals had considerably easier games the remainder of the Comstock Classic. They finished the tournament with 3 more wins over the weekend against Tonopah, Smith Valley, and Coleville.
The final preseason tournament for Eureka was Dec. 19-20 at the Round Mountain Tournament. Eureka mopped the floor with their opponents going 3-0 during the tournament which brought their record to 11-0. The Lady Vandals beat Round Mountain 35-17 in the first game of the tournament. Carlin was the unlucky opponent in the second game as Eureka handled the Lady Railroaders 49-32. The finale of the tournament was familiar opponent Tonopah who had already played Eureka twice before this tournament. A jaw dropping 33-5 outcome gave Eureka their most recent win against the Muckers to give them a 3-0 record over Tonopah this year.
Gallagher is pleased with his squad thus far as he stated, “11-0 feels pretty good, but the girls have a long road ahead of them and a lot to improve on.”
The Lady Vandals have held their opponents to an average of just 23 points per game which is a big reason for the early season success. Eureka’s leading scorer from last season has since graduated and has left the Lady Vandals searching for points from different players this year. Coach Gallagher explained,
“We have three girls, Meghan Damele, Shara Green, and Beth Damele averaging 8 points and have Angela Porter and Annette Hayward averaging 6 points a piece.” Although Eureka is off to a terrific start, their is one glaring aspect that has stood out to Gallagher.
“We do not have much size, our biggest player is Angela Porter at 5’8’’ so there is a big challenge for us to be tough under the basket.” Some teams Eureka will face this year will have girls 5’10’’, so it will be a priority for the Lady Vandals to get position around the rim to be successful on the boards and with post scoring. Eureka might not be very big this year, but their record proves that big things sometimes come in small packages.
The Lady Vandals and Gallagher will begin their league schedule against Carlin and Owhyee on the road Jan. 9-10. They will have their home opener at the new multi-million dollar facility Jan. 16 against Wells.